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Magnum: Princess Alice & the Broken Arrow

Some bands just ooze class no matter what they do. Such has always been the case with Britain's Magnum, who have been bridging the gap between prog, melodic metal, and hard rock since the 70's, and are continuing to do so today with the release of the fine Princess Alice & the Broken Arrow. This is the band's 13th studio release, and contains all the elements that have made them a beloved act for so long-catchy melodies, smart instrumentation, and driving rhythms. At the helm as always is lead singer Bob Catley, guitarist Tony Clarkin, keyboard wiz Mark Stanway, and the solid rhythm duo of bassist Al Barrow and drummer Jimmy Copley. The songs were all written by Clarkin, who has a knack for irresistible hooks, crunchy riffs, and just the right amount of progressive flavor to give these songs a sophisticated and thoroughly enjoyable vibe.

The two opening cuts "When We Were Younger" and "Eyes Wide Open" just burst from the speakers with plenty of power and emotion. The former has simply killer melodies and thick, driving guitar riffs from Clarkin, while the symphonic keyboards from Stanway and Catley's soaring vocals simply marvel. "Eyes Wide Open" is more of an elegant piece, a real catchy slice of pop flavored prog rock. "Like Brothers We Stand" is a solid slice of AOR, with gentle piano accompanying the hard rock riffs of Clarkin and Catley's passionate vocals. If you loved 80's hard rock and the NWOBHM movement, chances are you will really dig "Out of the Shadows", a crunchy number with beefy riffs, orchestral keyboards, and pounding drum work, while "Dragons Are Real" is pure symphonic rock, sure to please fans of Arena, Asia,Marillion, Saga,and Pendragon, and features some great vocals from Catley, who has such a unique voice and never fails to impress. Other highlights include the upbeat hard rock muscle of "Be Strong", the soaring "Thank You For the Day" (one of the best ballads the band has ever written), the Uriah Heep sounding "Your Lies" (with some great keyboard & guitar riffs), and the progressive anthem "You'll Never Sleep".

Chances are if you dug 2004's Brand New Morning, you'll find a lot to like here on Princess Alice & the Broken Arrow. Magnum have certainly continued to gain momentum these last few years, and this latest shows that there is plenty of life left in these veteran rockers. Why this band were never huge here in the US is a mystery, but if you like catchy hard rock songs with plenty of progressive flourishes, look no further.

Track Listing
1. When We Were Younger
2. Eyes Wide Open
3. Like Brothers We Stand
4. Out Of The Shadows
5. Dragons Are Real
6. Inside Your Head
7. Be Strong
8. Thank You For The Day
9. Your Lies
10. Desperate Times
11. You'll Never Sleep

Added: April 26th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Magnum Website
Hits: 3514
Language: english

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